Monday, April 26, 2010

Torn Between Two Lovers

Okay, so this weekend I got to write a lot. I was on fire, which is good because lately it’s been hard finding the time to just write.

But…what I have to say next may make some of you mad. I feel like it’s the skinny girl who complains about eating everything and still can’t gain weight type of comment or the girl who has to keep saying no to guys who ask her to homecoming because she already has the perfect date. The type where you’re like, oh geez, it must be so hard to have your problems (insert eye roll here).

Anyways, I’ve been writing a lot, but now I have two projects that I’m doing. I’ve been working on a piece for a few months that is all plotted out and I have about 75 pages done. However, when I was in Florida I got an idea that wouldn’t let me go. It got me so fired up that I couldn’t sleep and ending up writing until about four-thirty in the morning.

I’ve never had a problem like this. I have two books that are begging to be written, and I’m not quite sure what to do.

On one hand, the first book is plotted, I’ve been working on it for awhile and I love the lyricism of my writing. It’s from a piece that I wrote in one of my MFA workshops and I like how literary it is. I love the characters and the story haunts me. It’s not a happy piece, it’s hard to write, but what is coming out of this writing excites me.

Then, there is the new idea. It won’t let me alone. It keeps me up at night and I love the possibilities of where it may go, but it also scares me. This book is different than anything I’ve written before. It has a dual narration, one being male. I never write in a male’s voice, but his male is speaking to me. It needs a lot of plotting and planning to get the voices to work together side by side, but when they do, I think the story could be pretty awesome.

I really don’t know what to do. Summer vacation is coming up (30 days, but I’m not counting...ha!), and summer is when I get most of my writing done (I leave the school year for revising). I need to decide what to focus on, because I can’t write two stories at once. I’m not that talented!

So what should I do? Have you ever been in a situation like this? How o you decide? Do you have any thoughts, ideas, and recommendations? I’m really torn right now. I love both stories, so I have no idea how to proceed. Help? Help? Anyone?


The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Hey, it's really not that hard doing two stories at once. Just go with whichever story is pulling you at one specific time. If you need to write about this male characer, don't let that enthusiasm disappear - GOD NO! What a waste it would be!

When you lose enthusiasm, or you have hit an obstacle, move onto you other one. It's great having two WIPs at once - it gives your brain time to adjust to any difficulties you may come across by using your brain for something else.

I say do them both! And DO DO what is pulling at you the most when you wake up in the morning.

JustineDell said...

I can't write two stories at once, either, so I feel your pain. I've had a similiar problem and I just pushed one aside (painfully, of course) and finished one and then started the other. The voice won't go away. The ideas in your head will only go stronger. It's tough to ignore one over the other, but it's possible.

Or, you could try Jessica's idea and write both. I find that hard because my characters are always so different.

Good luck with whichever you choose!


Matthew Rush said...

I think you have to go with what inspires you at the moment. I've never had this problem myself, but it sounds like a fun problem to have.

Kristan said...

"I feel like it’s the skinny girl who complains about eating everything and still can’t gain weight type of comment..."

Haha, yeah. {eye roll}

But no, I feel your pain. Like you, I have had to make hard decisions about which project to write. In my case, I chose the dual-narration one, and it's been really, really difficult. In a good way. But also a frustrating way.

Part of me thinks that you should follow the passion. But another part of me thinks that if you're that passionate about it, you still will be when you come back to it, so it might be best to focus on the one that's more lyrical/literary, because that takes a lot of diligence and if you're already on a roll with it...

Bah. In other words, I don't know. Did you ask your agent?

Jess said...

I used to work on multiple projects at a time. I agree with the Alliterative Allomorph (great name, btw!): "It's great having two WIPs at once - it gives your brain time to adjust to any difficulties you may come across by using your brain for something else."

My problem was, I never finished anything. When the novelty of a project wore off, I'd stop writing it.

But when I started writing the novel that I am now revising, I knew it was special, and I forced myself to only work on that project. I allowed myself the occasional short story or personal essay, but no new novels. Whenever I would get a new idea, I wrote it down in a little notebook. If a scene formed itself in my mind, I mad a skeleton outline of it so I wouldn't forget, but I didn't dedicate much time to it.

It was HARD to not start writing every good idea I got, but it was worth it. Because I wasn't working on anything else, I finished my first novel, and I am really happy with the result. And now I have an entire notebook full of ideas for future novels.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is possible to have multiple WIPs--challenging, but possible. The key is to pay attention to how successful you are. If you're not finishing anything, maybe you should focus on the story that inspires you the most. If you are able to keep the stories straight and making progress on both, then write away!

Good luck, and let us know what you decide!

Jess said...

Gosh... I need to practice brevity... :)

Anonymous said...

This happens to me a lot, haha. What I usually try to do is pick one book to write while I outline the other. I can't write two at once either, but if I am drafting one I can usually plot out the second and it doesn't make my head hurt too bad. :P

Hope that helps!

Lisa Nowak said...

When I'm in a situation like this, I usually force myself to do the thing that is supposed to be most responsible. Not because I'm such a wonderfully responsible person, but because I can't stand the guilt, otherwise. If you can't decide what you want to do most, you might fall back on that. In this case, consider your career, your agent, your future readership.

The first book is much closer to completion than the second. In all likelihood, you could finish it sooner. That would give Lina another project to sell, which makes it the most logical one to work on. Also, if you give up the first one to work on the second, you might lose the passion you have for it. I don't think you'll lose the passion for the second one, because you've only begun to explore it.

My advice is to finish the first one, but any time you get an idea for the second, write it down so you don't lose it. Maybe the idea of having to wait to write the second one will inspire you to get the first one written. Kind of like having to eat your veggies before you get any dessert. :)

Anonymous said...

I faced the same dilemma a few weeks ago, and ultimately, I decided to go with the new WiP. However, that was because I knew I'm not passionate about the other one, and it shows in my writing. Sometimes, I still regret it, because I'm just adding to the pattern of never finishing anything.

If you absolutely cannot work on two works at the same time, I'd say to take a critical look at the literary project: Do you ultimately want to finish this? If yes, then continue working on it. The other one will still be there when you're done.

If, however, that's not where your passion lies and if you think you won't regret abandoning it, go with the new idea. It might be fun. :)

Eileen Wiedbrauk said...

I'm always writing two projects at once. Probably why nothing big ever gets finished. Although, it is nice when you plateau on one project to be able to turn to the other.

Suggestion: write the one that's plotted and work on plotting the one that's not.

apalfrey said...

not that I have much experience in all of this(only started writing last year.) but I think if you don't get the dual out of your system, it might just spill over into the other one. Write it until you hit a wall then work on the other. Some times you have to be careful or the one voice will take over the other project.
Work on your passion first.The other is plotted, come back later. If you feel the dual is really that good, do it now before you lose him.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, I totally know how you feel. I am a chronic project-starter-er (and I never even finish half of them). It's exactly like you said. When inspiration strikes, I can't help but to write it all down, even if I'm supposed to be finishing up something else entirely different. I have soooo many unfinished projects it isn't even funny.

I say you should work on whichever one you're the most passionate about now. And if that changes, then I guess go with the flow of it all. Good luck! :)

Christina Lee said...

I think you can do some of both. Pick scenes to do from each, or write one and do plotting or a scene for the other.
I am doing it now! What ending up happening to me is, one of them took over and the other fell to the wayside. Good luck!

Rachele Alpine said...

Wow! Thanks for all the GREAT advice about what to do. Seriously, you all brought up some amazing points and I think I know where I'm going to go with things. It's so hard sometimes to get into the groove of writing, so I don't want to lose that for either project. I guess I'm lucky that I have too ideas that I'm excited about to start the summer with. We'll see what happens!

Aunt Jeannine said...

I think you need to go back down and visit your aunt in Florida! Then you can figure out what to do!